Xenia, OH Auto And Train Collision, Mar 1959

XENIA RAIL DISASTER 2 XENIA RAIL DISASTER 1

10 KILLED IN CAR-TRAIN CRASH.

EIGHT GIRL SCOUTS VICTIMS OF XENIA ACCIDENT.

Xenia, Ohio (AP) - A freight train plowed into a car carrying 10 passengers and "split it open like a tin can" in a tragic railroad crossing accident near here Wednesday. All 10 - including eight Girl Scouts - were killed.
The "tin can" description came from the Rev. Alvin Klotz, one of the first on the scene, who added:
"People were strewn over the field. There were two of them near the car but the others were all over."
The car was dragged 50 feet along the tracks before being shoved to one side. One body, that of the driver, MRS. LUCILLE WHITE, 44, was found 75 feet beyond the car, indicating the force of the crash.
The daughter of MRS. WHITE and the other adult in the car, MRS. JEANETTE RANDALL, 39, were among the eight girls who perished.
The girls were returning home from a library here where they had been studying for merit badges. They lived in Beavercreek Twp., a rural suburb between Xenia and Dayton.
The accident happened about 3 1/2 miles west of Xenia.
Kenneth Ward, father of one Girl Scout, is an auxiliary fireman. He was helping gather up the bodies, unaware that his daughter was a victim, when he recognized what was left of the car. After hunting around he found the body of his 12-year-old daughter, LINDA.
The other girls were:
SHARON WHITE;
CINDY MOORMAN;
CONNIE LAPRISE;
PATRICIA LAPINSKI;
ANN NORTH;
PAULNETTA RANDALL;
and ANNA WILVERT.
All were 12 years old except ANNA who was 11, and the last to die.
Six were killed outright in the crash and three were dead on arrival at the hospital.
W. R. Murray of Columbus, engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad's three-diesel express freight, said he saw the car slow down as it approached the crossing, and he thought it was going to stop. But it kept coming into the train's path, he said.
State Highway Patrolman J. W. Smith said his investigation showed the freight was moving 60 to 70 m.p.h. but a Pennsylvania spokesman pointed out that the speed limit in that area is 50 m.p.h.
The crossing is unprotected by flasher signals and has only a crossbar railroad sign.
Vaughn Lewis, superintendent of Greene County Schools, commented: "The biggest tragedy was that there was no flasher light there. That's a bad crossing and we (the school board) fought for flashers and didn't get it. This is inexcusable in a populated area."

The Salem News Ohio 1959-03-19